Tim Hawkinson’s body is the foundation of his art, whether a kinetic sculpture of collaged pictures of the artist’s face or intricate animal skeletons assembled out of his fingernail clippings. Fragmentation of the body is typically associated with death, though in Hawkinson’s work, the effect is perhaps more absurd than morbid.
This sculpture, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes (2017) belongs to a series based on casts of the artist’s body parts, which he then manipulates and assembles in surreal configurations. Hawkinson’s pieces resonate now, a moment in which the human body is increasingly subject to the scientific interventions, whether through surveillance technology, gene editing, or surgery. By taking the transformation of his body into his own hands, Hawkinson plunges headlong into the estrangement produced by such technology.
Photographed in the Jewish Museum in New York City.